Rise of the Guardians gives us a Santa Claus who’s a master swordsman with massive, tattooed forearms. Also an Easter Bunny who’s deadly with a boomerang, a Sandman who battles nightmares with golden fairy dust, and a Tooth Fairy with a molar fetish.
Oh, and a Jack Frost mired in an identity crisis.
The five come together when Pitch Black, the Boogeyman himself, spreader of fear and darkness throughout the world, returns to crush the hopes and dreams of children–the very things the protagonists guard. But as Pitch puts Tooth out of business and blows up Easter, kids’ belief in our heroes fades, sapping their powers and threatening to relegate them to the unreal.
All the while, mopey Jack, unsure of his back story, stomps around bitching and moaning that no one really believes in him, even though he’s the force behind every snow day, every snowball fight, every careening ride downhill on a sled.
The first half of the movie is kind of the unfocused mess you’d expect from the description above. Bunny and Jack bicker, North (that would be “Santa” to you and me) blusters about in an Easter European accent, Sandy shrugs his shoulders a lot and forms dusty icons above his head, Tooth flirts with Jack, and Pitch is all, “Come to the dark side, Luke!” You’re not sure whether you’re watching a good-versus-bad picture or a coming-of-age tale.
But Jack’s discovery of his origins helps weave the two storylines together. Throw in some gentle messages about the power of belief and you have a genial (and beautifully animated) holiday movie that won’t make you feel as if you completely wasted 90 minutes.
The girls’ reviews:
- R: “I thought it would be funnier.”
- Q: “It was the best movie ever! Dad–whenever I go to the movies, I say it’s the best movie ever.” | DL